Calgarian Building Airplanes in Tennessee

A former Calgary man says he took his aircraft manufacturing business to the U.S. because of indifference by Canadian authorities about his plans.

Eric Giles moved his aircraft plant from Alberta to Tennessee.
Eric Giles moved his aircraft plant from Alberta to Tennessee.

For almost a decade, Eric Giles prepared and shipped kits for the Italian-designed Savannah light single at High River Airport south of Calgary. Business was good enough to warrant expansion but he told Canadian Aviator in an interview at U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, FL that he got no support for the idea from local and provincial authorities in Alberta.

“I got on the Internet and started emailing airports in the U.S.,” he said. “The response was amazing.”

He soon had offers of interest, support and incentives from airports all over the U.S. and visited potential sites in Texas and Tennessee before finally settling on Henry County Airport in Paris, TN, about 140 km from Nashville.

He said a delegation of 10 civic and state officials met him at the airport on his first visit. He’s since built a 23,000 square foot production facility for Light Sport aircraft that will be built entirely at his plant. The Spirit and Vision were on display at Sebring and will be available for sale later this year.

“We had great response at the show,” he said.